How to Fix Steam Games Not Launching Issues - Make Tech Easier (2023)

Steam is one of the most popular online gaming platforms. Despite Steam’s popularity, many Steam fans have encountered games that refuse to launch or that crash unexpectedly – sometimes after the game has previously been running without issue.

Due to each game’s varying hardware, software and bandwidth requirements, it’s not always easy to diagnose why a specific game isn’t working on a specific computer. Here you’ll learn how to fix all of these issues.

Also read: How to Use External Game Controllers with Steam Games

1. Steam Game Not Downloading? Try this Trick

The first step to running a Steam game is actually downloading it in the first place. But if you run into problems with downloading games (or updates for your games), then there are a few things you can try.

First, make sure your download region is set to the one you’re actually in.

In Steam, click Steam at the top left -> Settings -> Downloads then select your Download Region from in the dropdown menu and click OK.

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A more elaborate fix that’s worked for some users is this:

Open a Command Prompt window as administrator, then enter the following command:

wpr -cancel

That should fix the problem. If, however, it repeats itself, then again open command prompt as admin and enter the following:

sc config "DiagTrack" start= disabled
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Hopefully that will do it for you!

Also read: Steam vs. Epic Games Store: Which PC Gaming Client Is Better For You?

2. Run the Game as Administrator

If you’re experiencing issues with a specific game, then Windows users may be able to resolve these issues by running the game as administrator:

1. Launch Steam, right-click the game in your library that’s having trouble, then click Properties.

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2. Click “Local Files -> Browse.”

3. Find the game’s .exe file, right-click it, then “Properties -> Compatibility.”

4. Check the “Run this program as an administrator” box, then click OK.

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Also read: 7 of the Best Game Engines for New Game Developers

3. Run the Game in Compatibility Mode (Older Games)

If you’re playing an older game, then it may be designed to run on older Windows versions, so you may have to run in Compatibility mode for an older version of Windows.

Follow the same steps as in Tip 1, but instead of checking the administrator box under the Compatibility tab, check the “Run this program in compatibility mode for” box, then select the version of Windows you think the game may be designed for. (A good idea is to check the game’s release date and see which version of Windows was prevalent at the time.)

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Once you’re done, click OK.

Try restarting the game to see whether this has resolved your issue.

Also read: How to Add Non-Steam Games to Your Steam Library

4. Update your operating system

If your operating system (be it Windows, macOS or Linux) is out of date, then you may be encountering an issue that’s already been addressed in a recent update. It’s usually a good idea to check that your operating system is up to date.

Also read: How to Use Protontricks to Get Troublesome Steam Games to Work on Linux

5. Update your Graphics Drivers

Your graphics card drivers are vital to the Steam experience, so if your drivers are out of date, then your Steam games may encounter a range of issues. Even if your video hardware exceeds a game’s requirements, outdated drivers can still affect your game’s performance.

To update your graphics card drivers, you’ll first need to know the model of your graphics card and the version(s) that are currently installed on your PC:

1. Click the Windows “Start” button and then “Run … ”

2. When prompted, type dxdiag. Click Ok.

3. The DirectX Diagnostic Tool should launch. At this point, Windows may ask to check that your drivers are digitally signed. Select “Yes.”

4. In the “System” tab, select “System Information.”

5. Switch to the “Display” tab.

In the upper-left corner, you’ll see the “Name,” “Manufacturer” and “Chip Type” for your video hardware. In the upper-right corner you’ll find the “Version number” and “Date of release” for the video driver.

Now that you have all the information for your drivers, you can visit the manufacturer’s website or search for your exact model of video card and download any available updates. Nvidia GPU owners can go here, AMD GPU owners can go here. If you have an integrated Intel iGPU, then head over to this page.

6. Could your cache be corrupted?

If your game won’t launch, then it may be due to an issue with the extracted game files.

Steam can verify the integrity of your cached game files and rectify any issues that it discovers. As part of this process, Steam will compare the game files that are installed on your computer with the latest version of the game files on Steam’s servers. If any of these files are different, then Steam will replace or repair the corrupted local files and download any files that are missing from your local cache.

To verify your game cache files:

1. Launch the Steam client.

2. Select “Library.”

3. Control-click the game that’s causing you issues and select “Properties … ”

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4. In the subsequent window, select the “Local files” tab.

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5. Click the “Verify integrity of game files … ” button.

Steam will now verify the game’s files and fix any issues that it discovers.

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Note that this process may take several minutes depending on the size of your game.

7. Delete the GameOverlayRenderer64.dll file

According to some users, you may be able to force a game to launch or prevent crashes by deleting the game’s “GameOverlayRenderer64.dll” file.

Since this is an experimental fix, I’d recommend moving the “GameOverlayRenderer64.dll” file to a new location or renaming the file, as this allows you to test this fix without committing to deleting GameOverlayRenderer64.

If this workaround does deliver the desired results, then you can go ahead and delete the troublesome GameOverlayRenderer64.dll file.

Also read: How to Find Your Steam ID And Customize It

8. Disable third-party apps and services

There’s always a chance that third-party applications and services may interfere with Steam.

If you have a large number of background apps or services, then identifying the culprit may be a time-consuming task. To make your life easier, I’d recommend focusing on the following, as they have the greatest chance of interfering with your Steam experience:

Antivirus Software

Antivirus software can interfere with disk and network operations, which may cause issues with Steam. In addition, some games use copy-protection technology that can cause antivirus scanners to incorrectly flag that game as malware.

If your antivirus program is interfering with Steam, then you may need to edit your antivirus configuration to include exceptions for Steam, or you may prefer to manually disable your antivirus software before each gaming session.

Virtual Private Network (VPN)

Some VPN software can prevent the Steam client application from accessing the Steam server or may prevent games from accessing the Web, which can cause issues for games that require Internet connectivity.

If you’re using a VPN, you should check that your VPN is configured to allow Steam and Steam-related activities.


Some firewall configurations can prevent the Steam client from communicating with the Steam servers.

If you suspect that your firewall may be affecting your Steam experience, you’ll need to modify your firewall configuration and add exceptions for Steam.

Peer-to-Peer, file sharing, FTP and web server apps

If they’re not properly configured, peer-to-peer (P2P), file sharing, File Transfer Protocol (FTP) and web server applications can all consume large amounts of bandwidth, which can prevent Steam from accessing the resources required to run your games.

Even if you’re only encountering the occasional issue with Steam, disabling or pausing these applications while you’re using Steam can often result in a significant performance boost.

IP filtering programs

These types of programs are designed to limit the traffic that’s received and sent through your network, which has been known to cause issues with Steam.

9. If all else fails: reinstall Steam

If none of the above fixes work, then there may be some underlying issue with your Steam library. By uninstalling and then reinstalling Steam, you’ll know that you’re running the latest version of the Steam client and that all your games are located in the correct folders.

To uninstall Steam:

1. Launch the Steam client application.

2. Select the “Library” tab.

3. Control-click every game in your library and then select “Manage -> Uninstall.”

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4. Navigate to “Control Panel -> Programs and Features.”

5. Find “Steam” and uninstall it.

6. Restart your computer.

You can now redownload Steam and follow the on-screen instructions to install.

Also read: PC Game Pass (Xbox Game Pass for PC) Not Working? Here Are All the Fixes

Hopefully, with the above fixes, you will be able to solve the issue of Steam games not launching. If, however, Steam won’t launch altogether or isn’t opening, then follow our fixes here. One last thing: you should also speed up your Steam downloads to avoid a long waiting time.

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Robert Zak

Content Manager at Make Tech Easier. Enjoys Android, Windows, and tinkering with retro console emulation to breaking point.

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